Curiosity is an essential quality in personal and collective transformation. It is our primal drive to inquire and explore truth that allows us to connect with our fellow human beings as human beings. However, I’ve found over the years a huge gulf between two types of curiosity — the first is simply a curiosity in getting to know how someone works, and the second is broadening our understanding of nature itself through our interaction with another.
I do want to be clear I’m not going so far to say one type of curiosity is better than another. Rather, I’m simply expressing what I’ve observed over the years. I’ve found the former type often represents a subtle pretense, ignorance and judgment. The latter reflects a connection with our capacity for continuous transformation, compassion, and empathy.
Getting to know how someone works, like getting to know a machine, robot, or computer program, I’ve found, in and of itself, to be quite limiting and distorted. Why? Because, ultimately, it is impossible to understand another human being independent of the context of our relationship with them. A person is not an abstract entity that exists separate from us. The person, our lens, and our interaction with the person based on our lens, are interconnected, intertwined, at the very core.
Thus, in our curiosity to understand humanity, we must start with trying to first understand our relationship to humanity.